Naples asked to better publicize meetings, executive sessions
By Dawn De Busk
NAPLES — A resident recommended that the local public officials should better publicize specially-scheduled meetings, including those in executive session.
On Monday, resident Jim Grattelo said he heard that the Naples Board of Selectmen met last week in executive session. He said he thought the meeting had not been properly advertised.
Chairman Bob Caron II said Town Attorney Sally Daggett had advised them, “You have to notify the (news)paper, the board, and it has to be posted on the (bulletin) board at the town office.”
Caron said this was done on Monday, Oct. 24, as soon as the board decided to hold the meeting.
The executive session meeting took place Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 4 p.m. at the town hall.
Town Secretary Kate Matthews e-mailed members of the media on the morning of Oct. 24.
The Bridgton News was unable to print an advertisement about it since the meeting took place before the paper went to press that week.
The reason for the executive session was “for consultation with the town attorney regarding the legal rights and duties of the board of selectmen regarding personnel matters.”
During public participation time on Monday, Grattelo asked, “What was the emergency that the meeting had to be on Tuesday?”
Caron said it was the only time the town attorney would be available in person prior to the board’s regularly-scheduled meeting on Oct. 31.
“It was a meeting that was important — that we needed to take care of,” he said.
“It meets all the legal requirements for the State of Maine. It is this board’s right if we need to call an emergency meeting,” Caron said.
Grattelo asked why the board could not have waited a week.
“We did not want to wait a week,” Caron said.
“In the spirit of transparency, unless it is an emergency, you should hold off on meeting to give enough notice to post it in the paper,” Grattelo said.
“I would hope in the future, you would notify the public,” he said.
In a related matter, resident Suzanne Deschenes requested that the board seek additional ways to inform the general public about its regularly-scheduled Monday meetings.
“My last request is for transparency,” Deschenes said during public participation time.
It is Halloween, and many people were busy tonight, she said.
However, in talking to people in the community, some were not aware which days of the month the selectmen meet.
A friendly reminder is in order, she said.
“Can we put it out on the sign that these meetings are taking place,” she said, referring to the digital marquee in front of the Naples Fire Station.
According to the Naples Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak, “The bi-weekly selectmen’s meeting is posted on the website.”
Currently, the meetings are posted on the town website. On the bottom left side of the home page, there is a municipal calendar. By clicking on the red stars on the calendar, a person can see what entity is meeting as well as the time.